Students in Furniture City Seeking the Best Seat in Rio de Janeiro
Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Sandra Rettie was the representative on the course from Jamaica
Photo By: Courtesy of Delano Lai Fatt
Situated near Lake Michigan, one of North America's five Great Lakes, Grand Rapids is a city with a fantastic landscape, natural beauty and an array of wildlife in the parks bordering the lake.
Furthermore, Grand Rapids is home for several of the world's leading office furniture companies and often referred to as "Furniture City".
However with a five day ITTF Junior Circuit tournament being organised alongside the United States Open; proceedings concluding on Wednesday 4th July, the city is very much a focal point for table tennis.
Furthermore, the two tournaments are not the table tennis activities that are taking part; behind the scenes there has been a great deal of activity.
Advanced Umpires Training Course Under the auspices of the ITTF Umpires and Referees Committee an Advanced Umpires Training Course has been staged under the direction of two most experienced mentors.
The course was led by Albert Rooijmans of the Netherlands, the Chairman of the ITTF Umpires and Referee Committee, alongside Canada’s Delano Lai Fatt, a man seen regular at major international tournaments sitting quietly assessing the performance of officials and giving welcome advice.
Experienced Teachers Both are no strangers to the role of instructor; both have conducted courses for umpires and referees at all levels worldwide.
“A total 12 participants are learning the tools of the trade of umpiring and being prepared to step into the elite group of Blue Badge International Umpires”, explained Delano Laii Fatt. “The results of the course will be available when the tabulation of exams is completed.”
Diverse backgrounds All are eager to learn and all are from very diverse backgrounds; in addition to the North American countries of the United States and Canada, not too distant Panama and Jamaica are represented in addition to India and Mongolia!
Comprehensive Programme “An Advanced Umpires Training Course is designed to teach various aspects of the field of play procedures, the expectations of the Umpires and Referees Committee Evaluators, and the more recently added component, Racket Control Functions.”, added Delano Laii Fatt. “In addition, it focuses on practical Knotty Problems which show up from time to time in matches for which the decision of the umpire is based not on just one rule, but on the blending of many.”
Michael Meier (left) from the United States and Canada’s Grego Chan (right) involved with racket testing Photo courtesy of Delano Lai Fatt
Highest Level The goal is to officiate at the very highest level and, just like the players, there is one target that overrides all.
“Umpires throughout the world aspire to reach the elite group of Blue Badge international umpires”, concluded Delano Lai Fat. “They are the only ones who are considered for the Olympics.”
The Goal In Grand Rapids a new generation of umpires is receiving instruction; their goal is Rio de Janeiro 2016.
Members of the group with Albert Rooijmans and Delano Lai Fatt Photo courtesy of Delano Lai Fatt